Waiting for a plane
CHS students get T-shirts, spell out school name
Wearing newly provided school-color T-shirts - yellow lettering on red background - Coronado High's students gathered on the football field at the end of the first day for all grade levels Aug. 21 to spell their school's name for a photographer in a plane circling overhead.
The exercise was aimed at building morale in a school with 31 students whose families in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood lost their homes June 26 to the Waldo Canyon Fire.
“They're among you now,” Principal David Engstrom told students. “They're standing beside you. This is our way of showing our support.”
Engstrom had a unique vantage point for his microphone-aided comments, looking down on his 1,285 students - the school's attendance that day - from a bucket atop a roughly 20-foot extension arm on a utility truck parked on the track.
Wearing one of the new T-shirts himself, the principal had taken his lofty perch so that he could survey the students in their preassigned letter locations and position them as needed for the aerial photo.
In addition to the photo effort, a big reason for Coronado to set the rally on the football field was to “take it back,” seeing that the location had been used for several days during the fire for media briefings (until they were moved because Coronado itself was added to the evacuation area), Engstrom said. Also during the fire, the school's parking lot had housed various fire trucks and other emergency equipment.
Towering even higher than Engstrom - about 20 feet above his bucket - was a Fire Department employee on the extended ladder of the Engine Company 9 ladder truck, taking a video of the event.
Also in attendance were Mayor Steve Bach, Council-member Brandy Williams and District 11 Superinten-dent Nick Gledich.
Engstrom had said before school started that he and his staff would be looking out during the year for ways to boost the spirits of students who were affected by the fire.
The T-shirts, which had “Coronado Cougars” across the front with a drawing of a snarling cougar, were made for and distributed to the students at the direction of Gledich, according to Engstrom.
The school and district split the costs of the day, with the private plane's services being provided inexpensively, Assistant Principal Darin Smith said.
Westside Pioneer article